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Tuesday, June 12: They do not practice what they preach

MatthewWe return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.

Read Matthew 23:1-7

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

"Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called 'Rabbi' by others."


When we're part of a Christian community, like a church, it's easy to find ourselves doing good things for bad reasons. The temptation to gain a reputation as one of the "cool kids" by outwardly emulating leaders or friends is strong, and once begun is even harder to break away from. This is much like how Jesus explains the Pharisees' behavior: "Everything they do is done for people to see."


Not practicing what we preach is a great spiritual danger not only to ourselves but also to those around us, who might then be tempted to be as "spiritual," as we are—and just as deceptive, too. Make it your goal that your "Christian reputation" includes both the victories and the struggles you face in following Christ.

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